I had the honour of participating in a healing walk through the Alberta tar sands on Sunday, Aug. 14. Organized and led by Indigenous people and welcome to everyone, roughly a 100 walkers trekked through a 13-kilometre loop that could be called the Ground Zero of Alberta's dirty oil industry. We witnessed the images you are probably familiar with by now: the industrial plants spewing smoke into the air, the enormous tailings ponds that are deadly to all life, the moonscape denuded of trees or anything green.
For those of us who live far away from the Gulf of Mexico, the oily videos and doomsaying headlines are getting to be a bit wearying and are drifting to the back of the news.
After all, we get stunned by the repetition after a while and in the end we can live with environ mental disaster as long as it hap pens elsewhere and as long as it doesn't really affect us. In this case, specifically as long as oil prices don't go up. So far so good, right?
Well, maybe not. Here's the other side of the story. Among the energy institutes, oil economists and other thinkers, the question is whether we have in fact come to the long-predicted tipping point with regard to oil production and prices.
May 27, 2010 | For Immediate Release
SOINTULA, B.C. - On May 27 Enbridge escalated conflict on the coast when they took steps to break the First Nations ban on tanker traffic by applying to the federal government for approval of their Northern Gateway pipeline.
"Enbridge poses a grave threat to the future of coastal First Nations' way of life," says Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations. "We will not allow Enbridge to do to us what BP has done to the people of Louisiana."
Sterritt said Enbridge is unfamiliar with the strength and commitment of B.C.'s First Nations.
"We do not intend to lose this fight. We are not willing to roll the dice with our children's future. The stakes are too high."
When the Gulf of Mexico oil rig blew, there was probably not a fisherman or fish plant operator in western Nova Scotia, where I live, who didn't have the same cold flash: an oil rig blows on Georges Bank; the enormous tides of the Bay of Fundy suck half the oil up and down twice a day, polluting everything from Cape Cod to Lockeport and right up to Moncton; while the other half is locked in the "gyre" of currents that goes round and round over one of the world's best fishing grounds
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There's a fascinating new report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards that calculates Human Development Index (HDI) scores for all of Canada's provinces and territories. Here's the citation:
The Human Development Index in Canada: Estimates for the Canadian Provinces and Territories, 2000-2011, by Elspeth Hazell, Kar-Fai Gee, and Andrew Sharpe (Ottawa: Centre for the Study of Living Standards), May 2012, 79 pp.
It can be downloaded from the Centre's website.